Flat Iron

I may (dis)honor the memory
of our affair. No number
of lies will erase clouds
from a June sky. A man lies

in an empty garbage cart—the clean-up
crew waits for another festival
to end. Can a phone company’s window display
do justice to this first

skyscraper the City sent up
over itself? No one’s going to remember
I worked there too.


Rivers are larger than creeks are larger than
brooks are larger than runs. The man

you couldn’t get to that unnamed European airport
in time with is not the same man

you loved twenty years ago who would never sing
in front of an audience in a greenhouse. Or anywhere.

That was just a dream. Wouldn’t sing for anyone—not even you,
his precious cargo. He is not the same

man you wish would come out and play again. He would sing
for anyone—everyone. Would rather not

say a word when the music stops. He is not the same
man who wrote you a letter—one. Called you

on the phone—once. Meet me in the City. You could be
still waiting for him outside the bow of the Flat

Iron Building. But he’s not the same. Neither are you.

Colors of Imperfection

How to wash a wall
clean escapes me. The stained
yellow frame
of life happened
has marked where the black

and white Flat Iron
Building photo hung
in elongation. Always a phallic
comment, but that’s not it. And
now I want to hang you—

your black, white, and gray
evocation of guitar and train—
your one fast move or I’m gone
tour memorabilia on that spot. But
you won’t fit. A black line

from the edge
of a chest of drawers,
a tiny crack
in the new frame
I’ve bought to hold you in.

A collection of flaws—not a god in sight.

Staged and Charged Up (Day 2,669)

No photos ever of me
in Brooklyn. Some in Queens—
an Astoria fourplex with unfinished 

hardwood floors. Manhattan all over beginning
inside the helm of the Flat Iron.
The Bronx north of 232nd Street indoors 

and out. Even one on Staten Island before
dashing across the Verrazano Narrows 

Bridge. Where did they go? I know
they were taken
by the tiny broken locks 

in my soul.
But I can’t end
on that—I’ll be the one 

stealing, not having earned
the right to mention it—
the soul that is.